Film Friday Guest Post from Photographer Jan Scholz

I started photography after moving to Maastricht in the Netherlands, as a spare time activity, taking pictures around town with a digital SLR. Soon afterwards I turned towards portraits. From then on photography became almost an obsession, consuming most of my spare time.
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The main reason why photography is so fascinating to me, is that I can create my own world and use it as a stage for emotions, stories and scenes, that matter to me, that I find beautiful. I often do not have a defined concept for a shoot and just let myself be driven by what I find, the location, the light, the model.
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I switched to film after I already had a very good grasp on digital cameras and photoshop. The reasons are multifold, and include: I love the look of film right from the scanner. I always loved black and white photography, but when I was shooting digitally I was never happy with the conversion and the resulting tones, regardless of the tools used. My first scan of a simple black and white negative was already a revelation. Film is like a beautiful canvas the image is painted upon.

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Another reason are the beauty of old film cameras. They are a joy to use, their simplicity, their vintage feel, the big, bright view finders to look through, the sound of the shutters, the feel of the mechanics when forwarding the film. All these factors are not measurable in megapixels, dynamic range or frames per second, but they inspire me and contribute to the joy I have when photographing. Maybe I am stretching it a bit, but I think they also have a positive impact on most people I photograph. Especially using a large format camera tends to fascinate people, they feel like being part of something special.

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The limitations of each camera, each format is forcing me to approach photography in a different way. I take different pictures with a fast and mobile 35mm SLR than with a slow and stationary Large Format Camera. Going out with such a tripod based camera and knowing that I have just 10 or maybe 20 pictures to take, will make me photograph completely differently than with a 8GB card in the DSLR. It turned the way I photograph upside down. I look a lot more carefully, re-consider every composition and pose again and again before clicking (or not clicking) the shutter. This taught me a lot and I believe I learned most I know about photography and composition after switching to film.

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For most formats and applications, it’s probably true that digital has outrun film in terms of resolution, but in terms of “look” and tonality I am yet to be convinced. It’s a very personal opinion and decision. There are good reasons for digital and film, and everybody has the liberty to use whatever one likes and finds convincing. You can throw a lot of reasons pro-digital at me, it will not change how I feel about using film, for a multitude of reasons.

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My choice of film has been a little journey. I started out by buying and trying all sorts of films and after some time settled for a small selection suited for the situations I mainly photograph in. I believe my “signature film” is KODAK PROFESSIONAL Tri-X Film, developed in HC110. It offers smooth tones, with the right amount of “punch” in the contrast.
- Jan Scholz

KODAK Photo Service

Greetings from San Francisco. Yesterday was a pretty exciting day here. First (and most importantly), I was lucky enough to celebrate 25 years of marriage to a fantastic woman. That, in and of itself, made yesterday great.

Second, on the professional front, we introduced the KODAK Photo Service at the first ever Mobile Photo Connect conference. When Kodak Alaris first formed, we committed ourselves to thinking of new ways to drive business opportunities and revenue for our partners in the imaging business.  KODAK Photo Service is just that. It takes the core competencies of Kodak Alaris, our retail partners and the roster of creative content developers and brings them together to create a solution that bridges the digital and physical worlds.

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But how? And more importantly, why?

Let’s start with the why. Hans Hartman, the host of yesterday’s conference, shared some compelling data. Today, there are more than 28,000 photo and video apps. Of the top photo and video apps, 90% are photo apps. Yet only 1% of those apps offer printing capabilities, mostly because setting up the infrastructure for printing and payment can be pretty complicated. So you have these insanely talented developers creating incredibly popular applications that remain trapped in a digital world, with limited opportunities to extract revenue from their brilliant ideas and execution.

That’s on the app side of the equation. On the other side, we have our retailer partners. We have more than 100,000 kiosks globally. In these locations, we have retail partners with the equipment, expertise and infrastructure to create high-quality output from this treasured digital content.

At the same time, consumers have said “we’ll print, but you have to make it easy.” Last year, we entered the market with our own apps to test that theory – if we created an easy-to-use connection between consumers’ mobile devices and the retail environment, would consumers print more? The answer is a resounding yes. We’ve seen more than 1 million downloads of our apps and our retailer partners who have implemented our wireless connectivity have seen a significant increase in sales of premium products.

Creating the apps gave us fantastic insight into consumer behavior. Yet our core strength lies in our high-quality KODAK Picture Kiosks, KODAK Printers and a proven, global net-to-retail infrastructure. Therefore, we realized that we could create the bridge – between the digital and physical world. Between content providers and retail partners. Which brings us to how.

With the KODAK Photo Service, we’ve opened our KODAK Network Services APIs, which allows content providers to write to our API and create a simple print-to-store option for their consumers. At the same time, they gain access to our global, trusted network and relationships with multiple retail partners. Think about it – by writing to a single API and choosing from one of two business models, content providers gain access to thousands of consumer touch points and a new revenue stream. No worries about payment. No need to create multiple agreements with multiple stores and locations. No need for marketing plans. We’re excited to have the developers listed here as part of the program launch and look forward to adding more names in the coming weeks and months.

Now, consumers who create content using any of these apps can transmit this content to their local retailer, where they will pick up and pay. For retailers, it builds volume, revenue and relevance as the imaging space evolves. Retailers participating in this program include Target and Bartell Drugs in the US. Also, dm-drogerie markt in Germany intends to join the program in time for the holidays, with more retailers expected to join globally in the coming months.

For more information on joining the KODAK Photo Service program, please visit https://www.kodakdeveloper.com

Film Friday: An Interview with Ryan Muirhead

This Sunday, the final episode of FILM! will air, bringing to a close another season filled with not just beautiful photographs, but also with emotions, insights and advice from some wildly talented photographers.  We got to spend some time with Ryan Muirhead, one of the original hosts of the series, who we were fortunate enough to meet a few years ago. One of the things we’ve admired so much about Ryan, beyond his gift for photography, is his willingness to share, teach and inspire others with his work.

Q: What camera and equipment do you use?

A: I shoot with a Leica M7, a Pentax 67ii, a Pentax 67, a Nikon fe2 and a Contax T2. I love trying everything.

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Q: What are you trying to achieve with your photography?

A: I have always wanted it to feel like song lyrics — relatable yet unspecific. I really don’t know what I am trying to achieve yet, right now I just want to make beautiful, meaningful images and share my passion for film and photography.

Q: When did you first discover your passion for photography?

A: My father was a camera operator on movies and TV shows as I was growing up. I worked for a few years as a camera assistant in Utah and California, but never in a creative capacity. I took my first creative picture ever in 2006 on the set of a movie during lunch. About a month after that photography was consuming all of my free time.

Q: How did you first become interested in KODAK Film?

A: I enrolled in a class about shooting film in school kind of out of the blue. The teacher was adamant that everyone should be shooting Fuji but I had grown up using and loading KODAK Film on movies and I loved the look. A few years ago, I met reps from Kodak Alaris, who gave me some KODAK Film to start using. A few months later my images were used for the ad campaigns for the new Portra 400 and 160 films. I now shoot almost exclusively KODAK Films with a few very low speed or very high-speed exceptions. I have also been using KODAK 500T movie film in my still cameras.

Q: How do you have your film developed and scanned?

A: I currently use Indie Film Lab in Montgomery, Alabama for all of my color and black and white film scanning/developing.

Q: What approach do you take with your photography or what does photography mean to you?

A: I try to shoot as much as I can. I think it’s the only way to have a personal style. To shoot so often and in enough varied circumstances so that your style has a chance to find you. I have very documentary tendencies. Even in the shoots I am staging or directing I still try to wait and capture how people move or stand naturally.

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Q: That’s a very intriguing comment. Can you say something more about how that process of self-discovery seems to be working out for you?

A: I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Photography is so dependent on science that there seems to be two different halves to the experience, the gear side and the expressive side. So much is said back and forth about how much the gear you are using matters and it is, of course, all-important and not at all important. If we didn’t have cameras we would make no pictures, but when we worry exclusively about what our gear can do we lose what we are bringing to the table.

This is the most attractive element of film and Leica to me. I load the camera with a specific film type and then I can set my aperture and shutter speed and that is it. Everything else that comes to the image must come from me. I love forcing myself into that minimalism so that what I am feeling has the best chance to incorporate itself into the image. Finding that this was the best way for me to shoot was not always clear to me. None of us begin shooting knowing what the best way for us to express ourselves will be. I think that is the greatest drawback to the DSLR revolution. Millions of unique and nuanced artists are shooting on the exact same camera with the same three zoom lenses. Many of them produce amazing work, but I wonder how their vision might change if they picked up a field camera, a TLR, a rangefinder, a Polaroid camera. Filmʼs greatest strength seems to be that there are so many ways of arriving at an image.

Q:  As a photographer who came of age in the digital era, what particularly attracted you to film and why do you shoot it exclusively? What color films do you like? How about black-and-white?

A: I love film both for the look of it and for how it makes me shoot. Portraits are all about connection with the subject and I find all the menu items, buttons and, of course, the screen to be a distraction. I like everything stripped down: minimal lighting, simple settings, honest moments. I want this to apply to my cameras too — an aperture setting and a shutter speed setting is enough for me. As far as color negative films go, my favorites are KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 160 and 800 Films. The new PORTRA films are styled after the Kodak cinema films that I grew up around. I love the latitude, the fine grain, the performance under mixed light, everything. Lately I have re-fallen-in-love with KODAK PROFESSIONAL TRI-X Film. It’s just so perfectly classic. If I could only shoot one film for the rest of my life it would be TRI-X without a doubt.

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Q: Several of your images can be described as fashion portraits. What has drawn you to that genre which you say youʼve “never felt a part of” and what is motivating you to explore documentary photography?

A: I really struggle to place myself within a genre. I shoot a lot of models and work with a lot of stylists, but I have never felt my work really fit into the fashion or editorial genres. Fashion photography is inherently about the clothes and my work is inherently about the face. Everything I love about photography is in capturing the human face. It is endlessly diverse and expressive. I love the challenge that documentary photography presents. One of my favorite ways to practice or learn is to limit the amount of control I have. To shoot one camera, or one film, or one lens; to try and take away all the options we are constantly presented with and make my mind the only variable. With documentary photography you traditionally have very little control over many of the elements and you really have to assert yourself to make it your photograph.

Q: How do you think the courses in your photography program have influenced your work? Have you been exposed to any photographic work that you see as a source of inspiration?

A: School has been a blessing and a curse to me. I love the exposure to other artists and professors and how it forces you to work, but I have never performed well in a structured environment. I was constantly shooting what I wanted and trying to bend the assignments to fit what I was going to shoot anyway. One of the best things about school was being exposed to the work of the masters. Seeing and studying Avedonʼs “In the American West” has been the single most influential moment of my photographic life. It embodied everything I wanted my work to be.

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Q: You stated that you shoot “people almost exclusively.” What is it about photographing people that you find especially compelling and satisfying? Do you think that the discipline of shooting abstract compositions, nature subjects, scenic vistas, etc. can be helpful in developing techniques for shooting better people pictures?

A: The human form and more specifically the human face is the ultimate subject.

Hamlet put it best:

“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world…” I am constantly and consistently drawn to the face. I love the connection that happens when I try to express something I am feeling via another person. The connection and validation experienced at its most successful is unsurpassed.

Q: How do you see your photography evolving in the immediate future and over the next few years?

A: I am hoping to do more documentary and large format work in the coming months. I also hope to rededicate myself to taking even more pictures of my friends and family, as they are the most important part of my life. Above all I want my work to be personal.

You follow Ryan Muirhead on Twitter (@rnmphotography), Instagram (@ryanmuirhead)  and Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/ryanmuirheadphotography

Film Friday: Shooting film by Ronan Guillou

Film photography is very much art, there’s lots to see and learn: with time, effort and dedication a photographer can create some amazing images that tell a story.   With film photography the saying ‘pictures speak a thousand words’ really becomes a truth.

Today, Ronan Guillou a photographer from France tells us about his experiences with film photography, shares some of his images and offers us some great hints and tips to get the most out of shooting film.

Enjoy, Lars Fiedler

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Shooting film by Ronan Guillou, France

I’ve been shooting with Kodak negative colour films since I started working as a professional photographer in 1997. Using film doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to go with digital. I consider both mediums have their place in photography, depending on the fields of application. For my commissioned works, clients expect an immediate view of what is being shot. Fair enough: digital photography is great for this use. It also allows me and the team I work with to check quickly if what we’ve been doing sticks with the brief.

 

As for the artistic work, I don’t need to instantly see what I just shot. I believe photographers know what they do at the very moment they take a photograph. Above all, what I aim at is high flexibility and freedom in the way I work. The camera I’ve been using for years is a medium format Hasselblad 501cm, mounted with an 80mm lens. My favourite film is Kodak Portra 400/120. That film is just great; it fits perfectly with my expectations.

Ronan Guillou - Meridian, Mississippi 2012

What I like about using film with a medium format camera, especially Kodak Portra 400/120:

- Photographing with film doesn’t require any batteries or connections whatsoever with the camera I use. That particular point gives unlimited autonomy on my trips, which I definitely appreciate. The only battery needed for my work is for the light-meter travelling with me.

- I don’t have to upload pictures daily on a computer, then on a second back-up hard-drive.

- If needed, I can shoot fast without constraint.

- Using medium-format films provides very high resolution results.

- You can speed up Kodak Portra 400 to 800 or 1600 ISO.

- Film is stable, flexible and has great latitudes. In case of wrong exposures, you still have a chance to save your shots.

- Kodak Portra gives consistent and accurate colours, with beautiful and almost invisible grain when it comes to large prints.

- Once they’ve been processed, films are easy to keep safe and easy to archive, with an infinite lifetime.

- They can handle very high or very low outdoor temperatures.

- You don’t want to waste films, which means you need to keep focused on what you do and shoot only when your soul or instinct tell you to do so.

- Exposed correctly, films capture highlight and shadow details in some situations that digital struggles with.

- I think the rendering of the depth of field with film looks great.

Ronan Guillou - Junk Valley, Wyoming 2012

Few tips on using film:

- Most of the time, I use Kodak Portra 400 at its standard rating. Then I ask the lab to push the film at plus one half stop in the process. It brings a slight contrast to the film and makes it a little punchier.

- Or you could rate the Portra 400 at 250 ISO, and process it “normal” at the lab.

- If you have enough room in your fridge, I recommend you store your films in it so they can live a bit longer than the expiration dates.

- It’s better being on the over-exposed than on the under-exposed side.

- Just as for digital, I recommend you organise a back-up with scanning the negatives of your main photographs (in case of unfortunate accidents such as fire or robbery).

- Find a good lab to process your films, and then find a good printing lab. As I live in Paris, Publimod is processing my negatives, and Mupson Lab is doing the prints on the enlarger. I get my films scanned at Picto or Dupon. I believe it’s important to have a close relationship with your lab(s).

- I try to keep in mind the number of frames I have left in the film back.

- Though I know it’s riskless, I always ask my films to be hand-checked instead of going through the X-rays before boarding on a plane.

- Once in a while, I check my camera gear on slow speeds before loading a new roll, so I know if my equipment works properly (speed and f shutters). I had a bad experience one day – the speed shutter was jammed, and I kept shooting for one week without knowing about it – and I don’t want it to happen again!

- Lastly, I’d say taking a good photograph is not related with the ability to see it right after you shot it!

——-

Ronan Guillou

http://www.ronanguillou.com

Ronan Guillou - Trailer Sisters, Alabama 2012

Guest Post for Film Friday: Photographer Tanja Lippert

My name is Tanja Lippert and I am a 100% film photographer specializing in weddings, fashion, commercial, music & fine art photography. I’m also one of the hosts of a very special show on the Framed Network called FILM!

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I live in sunny California, but travel worldwide for photography assignments. I am very passionate and committed to my craft. I love adventure, creativity, traveling, spontaneity, teaching and inspiring others. I am a dreamer and a hopeless romantic at heart. I thank God that he has blessed me with creative gifts and abundant love. On top of all that, I am pretty much a big dork!! I often get asked, “Why do you still shoot with film?” The answer is pretty simple. I am a huge fan of the quality, richness & “magical” look that film has to offer. My favorite films to shoot include Kodak BWCN 400, PORTRA 160 and PORTRA 800.  I love the creaminess of the BWCN 400 and the fact that it is process C41 makes it easy for labs to scan this film and it is really beautiful!  The PORTRA 160 is my favorite portrait film to shoot, the skin tones are beautiful and it has a creaminess to it that I love.  The PORTRA 800 is wonderful film to shoot in both low light and sunlight, it has a beautiful saturation to it, while still keeping skin tones looking natural and amazing!  Shooting film “connects” me to my subject and surroundings and makes me more acute to what is happening in front of my camera. There is no reason for me to be distracted by viewing the images in the back of my camera all day, so instead, I am focused on looking through the viewfinder; waiting for just the right moments to capture.

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So many of those moments came during the filming of this season’s FILM Show. We spent eight days in the desert of Las Vegas shooting everything from muscle guys and muscle cars to beautiful models and beautiful scenery to a real wedding to getting shoot whatever makes our hearts happy.  I chose to shoot one of the Assistant Producers in a series of “beauty” pictures because one of my favorite things to shoot are women.  I love to make them feel special and beautiful in their own skin.

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When I started shooting fashion work back in 2001, digital was not even an option. I learned photography on film and have NEVER switched. Despite the pressure of the photographic industries and all my fellow photographers, I have held steadfast and true to my love of film and have NO plans on ever switching. By using one of the best film labs in the world to scan my film into high-resolution digital files- I get the best of both worlds, film & digital. I get the look and beauty of FILM CAPTURE along with the convenience of digital (like utilizing Photo Shop when needed and being able to show my work on the internet and share digital files with my clients). Yes, it is true that film is more expensive to shoot and requires me to be an EXPERT at my craft. That is exactly why I will continue to shoot with it. For me, photography is still an art. It’s MY art. It’s my blood, my sweat and my tears. It’s also my joy and my love. I would NEVER dream of sacrificing the quality and look of the images I produce for anything. I know that every photographer has his or her opinion about which is superior, film or digital. For me, film is what makes my heart happy and emotionally ties me to my images.

http://www.tanjalippertphotography.com

http://instagram.com/tanjalippert

https://twitter.com/TanjaLippert

Sharing Our Images – post from Reid Callanan

“We’ve enjoyed a long relationship with the Santa Fe Workshop, led by Reid Callanan and we’re thrilled to have a blog post from him today. Reid’s passion for photography is matched only by his desire to help others become better at it. In addition to the many workshops his organization runs, he runs Photo Teens, which introduces young adults to the world of photography. Reid tells us a bit more about the program, and why film is an important part of that  workshop.” – Audrey

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When I was a young man (40 years ago) I grew up in a photographic world of film and black-and-white prints made in a darkroom. I learned the craft of photography getting my hands wet. Fast forward to 2013, and today’s youth are growing up in photographic universe almost completely unrecognizable from a technology standpoint. Their world of pictures is a digital one using cell phones to post their pictures to Facebook and Instagram. What a world of difference in a few short years!

At the same time, young adults who work with film are continually amazed by the experience and results, and react to photography created with film much differently from that created via digital. As director of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, I believe in getting teens excited about photography by watching an image rise and take form in a tray of developer and sharing the resulting print with their friends face-to-face. For this very reason, we teach our Photo Teens summer workshop program using film and printing paper. These silver-halide materials and the uniquely magical process in the darkroom excites and inspires these teen’s creativity and self expression unlike anything in their digital domain. This traditional photographic start opens an entirely new world for their dreams and visions.

Kodak Alaris has been a long-time supporter of our Photo Teens workshops over the past ten years and their materials have enabled our teens’ photographic vision to come to light. Here are a few images made by the participants in this summer’s Photo Teens workshop here in Santa Fe:

Michelle La Sage Ryan Williamson Sharing images is at the core of being a photographer, whether making silver prints or digital images. One fun and rewarding way to share our images is entering photography contests. Entering contests affords us an opportunity to evaluate our images and choose our best work. Then we get to see if our best work is considered by the contest judges to be the best work submitted. Being recognized and acknowledged for our best work is a rewarding experience for any photographer. And if we are so honored, we get to share our best work around the world. And the prizes are nice too.

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Our upcoming photo contest from the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops is themed BACKYARD and will run from September 19 through November 19. Kodak Alaris has generously provided professional film as prizes for all four major contest winners, and we have provided free workshops, and many other photographic companies have provided prizes as well. Check out the details for BACKYARD here http://www.santafeworkshops.com/contest/.

Reid Callanan Director,
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops

Retail merchandising – Improving the customer experience

Ahh… the shopping experience, so fun and rewarding.  Retail therapy is a proven fact.  Consumers love to shop and buy, and they will if the shopping experience is a pleasant one and guides them on a journey to purchase.  Too frequently however, retail escape is cluttered and confusing.  The product sought is muddled and mired in a wealth of communication, and eventually, the consumer becomes overwhelmed, raises the white flag, and walks out.

Retailers seem to have approached merchandising one of two ways – either focusing on a broad assortment encouraging the impulse purchase and creating a busy environment, or adopting the “clean store policy” making it easy on the eyes, hard to navigate.  There is middle ground though, a solution to feature multiple products, create inspiration and drive purchase, but in a pragmatic and engaging process.  And the key word is process.  Marketers love processes, matrixes, grids, and funnels – like the path to purchase, the consumer buying cycle, the loyalty loop, etc. But often, we get so excited about communication real estate and products that we push aside well-worn practices in favor of promoting depth and breadth.  All that product promotion can be as overwhelming as a circular on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are some simple principles that create a communication process for in-store merchandising. These principles can offer a more engaging and profitable environment by increasing conversion, up selling, and bringing shoppers back for a repeat experience:

  1. Announce – Let consumers know what you have to offer in the simplest and broadest terms.  What is your core competency? Printing photos? Photo Center.  Fixing watches?  Watch Repair.  Selling Tickets?  Ticket Booth.  This communication attracts consumers who may not know these products and services are available in your store.
  2. Amplify – Tell consumers more about what your product offers, the features and benefits.  Take this opportunity to UP SELL and INSPIRE – prints instantly, create photo books, watch repair in an hour – new watches for sale.  Tickets to shows AND exclusive merchandise from of the show.  Now that consumers are aware and considering a purchase, make it the best sales experience possible.
  3. Inform – Close the sale by providing, detail clearly and concisely.  Pricing should be easy to follow.  If you have other products to promote, present it in a relatable and compelling communication.  Consumers are ready to buy, but will abandon the purchase if they get frustrated.

So the process seems pretty simple – only three steps(!). Now where does the communication fit it?  Below are examples of in-store marketing tactics and messaging:

Announce – ceiling signs, cross-promotional collateral (shelf talkers, stickering), department signs.  Messaging: define the destination and make the destination intriguing

Amplify – backwall signs, countertop signs.   Messaging: claims, product assortment, inspiration – end benefits, promotions, special offers

Inform – brochures, sales associates, pricing lists, QR codes/links to informational websites, samples.  Messaging: pricing, education on product benefits, instructional – how to use

Below is an example of an in-store environment, from a retail partner who provided us with the opportunity to apply these principles to its photo center.

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After (rendering): after2

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Key Improvements:

Announce:

  • Disruptive branding that defines space and creates a store within a store destination
  • Clear department name
  • Destination definition

Amplify:

  • Backwall features promotional messaging, menu pricing, and samples
  • Front counter image offers lifestyle/inspirational images and additional product information
  • Counter top sign features special offer

Inform:

  • On kiosk signage and UI provides additional product information, educational and instructional content

The principles, applied to a larger in-store footprint, can be applied to a countertop merchandiser just as easily.  There might be a more selective approach on what key points of communication are conveyed, but if you follow the communication process consumers will engage and you will be rewarded.